Article by David Brown, Lift
A report from this past July shows a continued decline in cannabis-related arrests in Canada over the past four years, while arrests for drugs like methamphetamines, heroin, and ecstasy increased. While cannabis-related arrests continue to make up the bulk of drug arrests in Canada, they also are more likely to be stayed or withdrawn or to receive a fine rather than custody if found guilty.
The report also shows that cannabis-related arrests account for 79% of youth drug crime (A decline of 19% from 2014). These decreases are most pronounced in Ontario (-16%) and British Columbia (-17%), although declines were reported in all provinces and territories, except for Nunavut and PEI. Nunavut saw a 9% increase and Prince Edward Island’s rates remained the same.
There were about 96,000 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)offences reported by police in 2015, with 51% (49,577) being incidents of cannabis possession and 9% related to the trafficking, production or distribution of cannabis. In 2014 there were about 104,000 drug offences, with 57,880 for basic possession and 10,700 for trafficking, production, or distribution.
While this is a positive direction, obviously these numbers are still unfortunately high. Even those only receiving a fine still potentially have to deal with an arrest on their record, which can bring numerous challenges in the future for employment or cross border travel, etc.